The following is an awesome guest post by the lovely and talented blogger, Ashley Wilson, AKA FloridaGirlWrites.
Stress, the silent killer, takes a toll on a person both mentally and physically. Physical signs of stress can be exhibited in the following: tense shoulders, furrowed brows, jaw clenching, and headaches. Emotionally, one may be defensive to response, overwhelmed, out of control, and consumed by negativity. What happens when stress takes over, one forgets to breathe and hydrate, therefore leaving the brain overwork and mistakes are made. Stress is unavoidable. As responsibilities continue to pile on, the worse it feels, the more one wants to run away.
Ignoring stress is a common mistake people try to make in order to combat it. In fact, it makes matters worse because then the damage goes unchecked. Every individual must find their own way to conquer this negativity, but here are 7 ways that can help.
Practice deep breathing. Stress may be induced by situations or a person, and it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex. Take a moment, even if it’s in the middle of a conversation, to breathe deep. Count to four on the inhale, hold for five seconds, and exhale fully, letting the breath completely dissipate. You’ll realize that subconsciously you’ve been taking shallow breaths, and holding the bad air in.
Embrace emotion and let it go. I’m guilty of ignoring my own feelings because they feel wrong, and unexplainable, which they are. Something may upset you, your spouse didn’t do the dishes, your work is overloaded, your goals aren’t progressing. In a moment of frustration, let it wash over you, experiencing the full reaction. Then, use step one to let it go.
Smile, even when you can’t. Not only does smiling make you appear to be a more approachable person, it releases those worry lines and preemptive wrinkles. You don’t have to smile unnaturally, instead try to turn the corner of your lips upward so your resting face is fully relaxed. It’ll feel forced at first, but after a few minutes, your outward projection will reflect internally.
Practice positive phrases in the mirror. Life gets us down and can consume us to the point we feel like we’re not doing what we want. In comes the guilt and self-doubt. Remind yourself that you deserve happiness and what fortune you have in your current life. Positivity sounds cheesy to some, but the power it has over your subconscious is immense.
Vent but don’t hold on. You’ve had a bad day at work, people pushed your buttons, your coworkers didn’t help you out, you still have more to do at home. The laundry list of things to complain about is endless. It’s okay to vent but minimize yourself to doing it to five minutes a day then use steps 1 and 2 in order to overcome it. Your loved ones can only empathize for so long until they feel like no matter what they do makes you feel better. Allow yourself to be happy.
Find solutions instead of hypotheticals. “Should” is a destructive word. People make mistakes, especially under stress when one isn’t thinking clearly. You can find every way to beat yourself up, yet it doesn’t solve anything. Live by the motto, “What’s done is done.” You failed a test, forgot a deadline, or missed a payment. You know what you did wrong, so don’t dwell in it. Just resolve the matter at hand and take it as a learning experience.
Be physically active. It may feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything that makes you a better person. You must work, clean the house, run errands, how are you supposed to find time? You make time. Get up earlier or squeeze it in before bed. Stretch, do cardio, lift weights, go for a walk, get outside. Even for half an hour, I promise, all your responsibilities can wait.
Stress in life is a guarantee. There will never be enough time to accomplish everything you want. Take one day at a time. Notice when you’re getting overwhelmed and take a moment to deal with it. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.
Florida Girl is a 25-year-old, writing about thoughts in psychology and philosophy.
Note: 1. Ashley Wilson is currently in the United States.
2. Discovered in-a Facebook group.